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Swoops, backed by Gary Vaynerchuk, raises $3.5 million for the NFT Basketball Game

The fundraising round was led by Courtside Ventures and Alpaca VC, with participation from Vaynerchuk, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, and others.

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Swoops, an NFT basketball game developed on Ethereum’s Polygon sidechain, has raised $3.5 million in funding headed by Courtside Ventures and Alpaca VC. Gary Vaynerchuk, Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, Slow Ventures, and Red Beard Ventures, were among those that participated in the round.

Swoops is a daily fantasy sports (DFS) basketball strategy game in which every player is a tradable non-fungible player (NFT).

“Whether you’re an owner, an investor, or a manager, this is genuinely a game of skill with different user-profiles and paths.” In a statement, Alpaca VC General Partner David Goldberg said, “The idea here isn’t just to be a basic game, but rather a comprehensive ecosystem for others to develop upon.”

NFTs are one-of-a-kind blockchain tokens that represent ownership of an asset, such as a work of digital art or an in-game item. In this example, each Swoops NFT represents a distinct in-game character, each with its own set of skills and abilities. The first 500 or so will be coined on mainnet (Ethereum), with the remaining 10,000 produced for the public drop on Polygon this summer. Every season, new players will be added.

Swoops NFT owners will have complete commercial ownership of their players’ IP, allowing them to exploit it as they choose. However, because each character ages over time, a player’s attributes, stats, and appearance will alter as well. Holders will be allowed to buy, trade, and even stake player NFTs regardless.

While some players may not approve of how their NFT characters age in the game, Swoops allows users to form teams of people in order to earn real money.

Swoops will release a free-to-play version of the game in July after the NFTs are minted (main sale) and unveiled in May, so consumers can get a feel for the game.

Swoops want to conduct tournaments in September where NFT holders can compete for prizes, and a real-life Swoops conference in Miami is planned for December for the game’s most ardent followers.

NFT

According to Music Ally, Spotify has begun testing NFTs on its platform

If a trial deployment goes well, artists may soon be allowed to market their non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Spotify, according to Music Ally.

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Spotify, the most recent tech business to join the NFT bandwagon, entered the web3 world earlier this month with the introduction of “Spotify Island” on Roblox on May 3. Spotify will now test NFTs on the platform to specifically selected US consumers, starting with a single trial selection of artists, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats.

Users will have to purchase NFTs through an external marketplace, thus they won’t be able to sell them directly. As part of the trial, Spotify has stated that it will not take a portion of the sales.

Simultaneously, customers have stated that Spotify is sending out surveys and even paying some people to talk to team members about their feelings regarding NFTs and web3. Questions concerning sentiment, cryptocurrency purchases, and why people acquired NFTs have been circulated on Twitter. Some poster responded with mockery to the queries.

Since March, when Spotify placed two job offers for working on early-stage web3 projects, rumors have circulated that the firm was interested in entering the web3. The announcement comes only days after Meta revealed that it would begin testing digital collectibles and NFTs on Instagram as well.

By the time of publication, Spotify had not responded to a request for comment from The Block.

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Square Enix intends to issue tokens and make a significant investment in Web3 gaming

By investing in blockchain gaming infrastructure, the big game producer is altering its business strategy to include a stronger NFT environment.

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Square Enix announced in its first-quarter results report that as part of its medium-term business strategy in 2022, it will include nonfungible tokens (NFTs) into more game goods.

According to Square Enix’s most recent earnings report, the company manages $3 billion in assets. The company controls the Final Fantasy franchise, which it sold for $300 million on May 3rd.

According to the report, the company began testing NFTs in February this year on the Shi-San-Sei Million Arthur game. If the pilot program is a success, the game’s NFTs will be renewed for a second season, and the company will expand its NFT and blockchain activities.

SE wants to provide regulatory clarity and norms for blockchain gaming, address scalability in NFT economies, and consider forming a corporate capital venture unit, among the top priorities of its blockchain domain projects.

The company also announced that it intends to create an overseas organization that will be responsible for “issue, administering, and investing our own tokens,” implying that the company will begin to build a large gaming-token economy.

SE has been exploring its options in the blockchain gaming market with the help of Web3 gaming and metaverse venture capital firm Animoca Brands. As SE digs deeper into the ecosystem, collaboration between the two companies is expected to deepen.

Square Enix’s gaming clout, according to Animoca’s executive chairman Yat Siu, will only help the company establish a blockchain gaming presence. On Monday, he said to Cointelegraph,

“Square Enix has long talked about the possibilities of blockchain games, so it understands it better than most of the traditional gaming titans.”

The third objective of the report’s medium-term business strategy is to invest in and monetize blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing. This aligns with CEO Yosuke Matsuda’s stated desire in January to increase his company’s involvement in such technologies.

Despite a broad cryptocurrency market dip in 2022, the appeal of Web3 and NFT gaming has remained strong. On Saturday, according to market tracker DappRader, there were roughly one million daily active gamers, nearly the same as on January 1.

Gamers, on the other hand, aren’t spending as much as they used to, with total sales volume for NFT game items falling 88 percent from $70 on January 1 to $8.7 million on Saturday.

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has approved a charity NFT initiative to aid military operations

On Thursday, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted his support for Avatars for Ukraine, a non-fungible token (NFT) project that benefits Ukraine’s humanitarian and defense efforts.

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The project includes 70 digital artworks based on Ukrainian imagery and resistance to Russian forces that evolved as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war. All earnings from the sale of digital art go to support Ukrainian war efforts. The Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation has approved Avatars for Ukraine, and the first NFT will be released on May 19.

This isn’t the first time Ukrainian officials have used blockchain technology to help fund war activities. The Ukrainian government opened a website in April this year where people could purchase and trade NFTs to support Ukraine’s military efforts, as well as raise over $100 million in crypto donations.

Avatars for Ukraine also joins a growing trend of NFT projects assisting in the donation of monies to charity, with some or all of the proceeds of NFT art going directly to the charity.

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